I’ve been to New Orleans three times in my life, each time during Mardis Gras, and I have to say I instantly fell in love with the city. Abundant in people and excitement, with stores in the French Quarter open all hours of the day. Beads, liquor, Mardis Gras-themed loot. It was all there, and it was fabulous.
There’s such beauty and history in NOLA that the city seems to have a life of its own, and that’s something I’ve seen in very few places I’ve been to (NYC is one of them, though the vibe is totally different; Key West is another).
My time in NOLA was spent wandering the streets, visiting French Quarter bars and restaurants, and watching the Mardis Gras madness of floats and half naked people parading down the streets. But I always wondered what it would be like to go back during a less...uh, colorful time. This year I get my wish, as I’ll be attending the Authors After Dark Conference in August. While there, I plan to do some local ghost and cemetery tours, visit a few museums, and of course, bar hop!
For those of you who haven’t been to NOLA but wonder what it’s like, trust me, it’s worth a visit.
Which brings me to the first novel in my Demons of Infernum paranormal romance series, Blood of the Demon. Part of this story takes place in New Orleans (during Mardis Gras, no less), so I’d love to give you the take from my hero Keegan’s perspective.
Keegan is an interdimensional bounty hunter who has been given the task of keeping psychometrist Brynn Meyers from the clutches of an evil demon named Mammon (who happens to be Keegan’s father, though Brynn doesn’t know it). Brynn has the ability to read an ancient spellbook that can be used to resurrect the dead. Mammon wants to capture Brynn and force her to create a zombie army, which he’ll use to take over the world. After Mammon’s men discover Brynn and Keegan in New York City, they are forced to flee. The two end up in New Orleans...and as they’ll soon discover, it’s Mardis Gras time.
Please enjoy this blurb and excerpt, and one person who responds to the following question will win an e-copy of Blood of the Demon:
Have you ever been to NOLA? (If you have and have a great story, do share!)
Keegan lives to exact revenge on the evil demon who sired and abused him. When his father devises a plan to bring on the apocalypse, he and his three half-brothers, interdimensional bounty hunters for the Elden Council, are charged with capturing and delivering their father for punishment.Art gallery owner Brynn Meyers has no idea that her ability to read memories embedded in objects and drain people of their life force means she has demon ancestry. Unfortunately for Brynn, she's also the key to raising an ancient zombie army, which puts her on every demon's Most Wanted List.And no one wants her more than Keegan's father.Keegan must protect Brynn from his father by any means necessary, but he'll have to learn to harness the other half of his genetics-the far deadlier, uncontrollable half-when he starts to fall for the one woman standing between him and the vengeance he so desperately seeks. The one woman he'll never be able to resist.
Brynn hugged her coat to her as they stepped into the frigid cold. The smell of stale beer and piss stained the air around them. Drunken revelers wearing masks and beads careened past them, laughing riotously as they zoomed down the street carrying beer cups.
“I didn’t realize it was Mardis Gras until we got here,” she said.
“Mardis Gras?” He frowned, unfamiliar with the phrase. “What’s that?”
With an exasperated shake of her head, she said, “How is it that you seem so normal, yet you know nothing about popular culture?”
“We learn as much as we can before visiting other worlds, but our timelines are usually pretty short.”
“Sometimes you amaze me.”
She explained the history behind the celebration while he watched the throngs of people walking past, some barely dressed.
“I’m afraid some of these people are going to freeze to death,” he told her.
Brynn followed his gaze to a thin woman wearing nothing more than a mask, pasties, a thong, and what looked like her weight in beads. She laughed. “Most of them have probably had so much liquor they barely even notice.”
Surely, a dangerous state for beings as fragile as humans. He saw something ahead and grabbed her hand. “Come on.”
Fighting to pull her through the crowd, he led her to a booth where a man sold masks and beads. Keegan picked an elaborate purple and gold full-face mask with feathers on one side. “This one suits you.”
“It’s pretty.” She put it on and he moved behind her to tie the strings in the back. “If I’m wearing one, you need one, too.”
Keegan shrugged, then chose a black and gold jester mask that he figured was masculine enough. He squatted, waiting impatiently while Brynn tied it behind his head. Her intoxicating scent closed in on him, overwhelming even the foul stench of the streets.
Too close. She stood far too close for comfort.
As soon as she finished tying the knot, he pulled away and turned to face her.
“That looks great on you,” she said.
Laughing, he paid the man at the booth. He led her away from the huge, swaying mass of people on one end of the street. When they approached another crowd pocket, he grabbed her hand, and this time he didn’t let go. He told himself it made sense, given the amount of people on the street. But he didn’t try to fool himself—touching her felt good. Her cool hand warmed in his, and he envisioned what it would feel like for her soft fingers to caress other parts of his body.
Cursing inwardly, he forced himself to think about something else. He scanned the crowd, searching for any signs of danger, but found nothing.
Rosalie Lario practiced real estate law for several years before finally admitting to herself that negotiating contracts wasn’t nearly as fun as dreaming up stories. When not writing, she enjoys spending time with her husband and son in their home state of Florida, as well as searching out things that go bump in the night.
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